My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Finally caught up

It’s a Monday morning as I start this, I was up way too early, but the heat and humidity has been getting to me. Today is forecast to be the end of it, with cooler and drier air coming for tomorrow and right through the holiday weekend.

Part of me would love to head north for the weekend, but another even larger part doesn’t want to deal with the crowds and traffic on a three-day weekend. Besides, staying home will save me a few bucks that I can put towards the new 10-18 mm lens I’m planning on purchasing soon. I’m sure that I’ll find enough flowers, insects and birds to fill a few posts even if I do stay close to home.

I’ll probably return to the Hofma Preserve on one day to make another attempt at photographing the sedge wrens there. On one of the other days, I’ll get serious with my Tokina macro lens mounted on my tripod as it should be. And, I think that a day at Pickerel Lake is in order for the flowers and possibly birds there.

After my difficulties with the new 300 mm prime L series lens, I would say that overall, I’m very, very pleased with the images it produces. However, it isn’t a great lens for birding, it doesn’t do well at the distances where I photograph most birds. That’s okay, it makes a great lens for this time of the year when I’m shooting more insects and flowers than birds.

Damselfly

Damselfly

Damselfly eating a mosquito

Damselfly eating a mosquito

Damselfly eating a mosquito

Damselfly eating a mosquito

One thing about the 300 mm L series lens that I don’t think that I’ve mentioned, is that the image stabilization seems to draw a lot more power from the camera battery than any of my other lenses. Although, that could be because I use that lens differently than any of my other lenses. I hold the camera on subjects longer, and force the auto-focus into the servo mode for all the close-ups of flowers and insects. I hold on birds longer as well, as I tweak the focus after the auto-focus locks.

The IS is running the entire time that I hold the camera on a subject, and not only does it seem to draw more power, it is quite loud as well.

But, no matter what the reason, I can’t go a full week of using the 300 mm lens without charging the battery as I can with the Beast (Sigma 150-500 mm lens) or the 70-200 mm L series lens.

Anyway, time for a few more photos so I can really be caught up.

I’ll start with a male house finch.

Male house finch

Male house finch

Which flew to another branch. I was holding the camera on him, waiting for him to turn so that the light would be better, when a female English sparrow popped her head up from within the spruce tree to see what was going on.

Male house finch and English sparrow

Male house finch and English sparrow

This next one is from the Tokina macro lens used handheld, and hasn’t been cropped at all.

Horsenettle

Horsenettle

An update on the witch’s broom.

Witches broom

Witches broom

I found a rather handsome looking beetle.

Beetle

Beetle

Beetle

Beetle

The next few are of flowers and insects that I found in the marshes of the Hofma Preserve while waiting for sedge wrens.

Unidentified marsh flower

Unidentified marsh flower

Wild rose

Wild rose

Wild rose

Wild rose

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Unidentified marsh flower

Unidentified marsh flower

Unidentified marsh flower

Unidentified marsh flower

Butterfly

Butterfly

I found this grasshopper on a leaf near home.

Grasshopper

Grasshopper

But, when I tried for a side view, the hopper slipped over the side of the leaf to hide. I think that most of us probably believe that since insects are small, that they “see” small. That is, they see things in relation to their size the way that we see things in relation to our size. That’s wrong though, insects obviously see as much or more than we do, in order to spot potential predators, and to hide from them.

Grasshopper

Grasshopper

These guys and gals are everywhere this year! Because of the weather the past two summers, I saw very few butterflies. This year, even after the long harsh winter that we had, I’ve been seeing more butterflies than the past two summers combined.

Skipper on knapweed

Skipper on knapweed

Seeing mallard ducklings, I was going for as good of a photo as I could get, and of course one of them decided to shake itself off just as I pressed the shutter release.

Mallard ducklings

Mallard ducklings

I think that I have a mental block when it comes to identifying flowers. I know that I have seen these common yellow roadside flowers in several blog posts by others, yet their name escapes me.

Unidentified common yellow flower whose name I can't rmember

Unidentified common yellow flower whose name I can’t remember

These next white flowers were tiny, this photo wasn’t cropped at all, shot with the 300 mm lens. I hope that I can find them again when I have the Tokina with me to get a better photo.

Tiny flowers

Tiny flowers

Damselfly

Damselfly

Fly

Fly

I tried all spring to get a good image of this next flower, it’s a shade loving plant from what I can tell. I finally found one in the sun for a good photo.

Unidentified yellow flower

Unidentified yellow flower

Buttercups?

Buttercups?

Fly

Fly

The next flower is another that I shot many photos of to finally get this one. I had to go down 1 1/3 EV to prevent the center of the flower from being blown out.

???

???

The next two came from the Tokina lens.

Unidentified berry flowers

Unidentified berry flowers

Spider

Spider

This one is courtesy of the 300 mm prime lens.

Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan

As are the rest of the images in this post from here on.

Song sparrow

Song sparrow

Moth

Moth

Juvenile Baltimore oriole

Juvenile Baltimore oriole

This next photo isn’t very good, but I caught both of the meadowlarks taking a break from feeding their young in the same tree at the same time.

Eastern meadowlarks

Eastern meadowlarks

Common mullein

Common mullein

In one of my last posts I had photos of a young rabbit, here’s an adult.

Cottontail rabbit

Cottontail rabbit

How the cottontail got its name.

Cottontail rabbit

Cottontail rabbit

The mulberries are getting ripe, and normally the birds flock to the mulberry trees to feed on the berries, that’s not happening yet this year. But, this squirrel was making sure that the berries didn’t go to waste.

Fox squirrel

Fox squirrel

Curly dock

Curly dock

Well, I was caught up for a very short time. Since I began working on this post, young birds of several species have fledged, and they and their parents have been everywhere. It was also the end of the month, so I walked over to the office to pay my rent, and stopped off at one of the ponds nearby since I had taken my camera. I went crazy shooting photos of the geese there at the pond. And of course, more flowers have bloomed, so once again, I find myself with too many photos to sort through. That’s really bad timing, with a three-day weekend coming up, I’ll have images coming out of my ears again.

Oh, and by the way, the weather for this long weekend is looking like it will be close to perfect! The forecast is for a cool Canadian high pressure area to park over Michigan with sunny skies, pleasant temperatures, and low humidity. If that turns out to be true, I may end up with enough photos to last me into winter. 😉

I better stay away from the ponds around here.

Canada geese

Canada geese

Or I’ll end up with two years worth of photos. 😉

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

 

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27 responses

  1. Really great shots! I can’t believe you got that shot of a fly!!

    July 2, 2014 at 10:29 am

    • Thanks, but you ain’t seen nothing yet!

      July 2, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      • can’t wait to see!

        July 2, 2014 at 8:18 pm

  2. Your insect shots are truly amazing! My favorite of this post though is the black-eyed Suzan. I really love that one!

    We have a mulberry tree (two, actually) in our yard and the one in the back has been discovered by our resident ground hog. Every day we see him out there eating the berries that have fallen on the ground. 🙂

    Enjoy your long weekend. We are headed north this afternoon. High up there today is only supposed to be in the 60’s and tomorrow’s high is supposed to be 70!

    July 2, 2014 at 11:13 am

    • Thanks Amy, enjoy your time up north! I wish I was going, but I can drain the battery of my camera and fill the memory card around home.

      July 2, 2014 at 2:22 pm

  3. I’m sure it feels good to be caught up. Have a great holiday weekend and I look forward to your shots 🙂

    July 2, 2014 at 11:22 am

    • Thanks Ingrid!

      July 2, 2014 at 2:23 pm

  4. Really enjoying all the wildflower shots. Hope you enjoy a long, cool(er) weekend.

    July 2, 2014 at 11:56 am

    • Thanks! I will be loving this weekend if the forecast holds true. Maybe I’ll get some really good wildflower photos.

      July 2, 2014 at 2:23 pm

  5. I particularly enjoyed the damsel fly pictures.

    July 2, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    • Thanks Susan!

      July 2, 2014 at 2:24 pm

  6. Nice shot of the damselfly with the mosquito

    July 2, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    • Thanks! The lighting wasn’t perfect, I lost the damselfly’s wings in the shade, but there really wasn’t time to go for a better photo.

      July 2, 2014 at 2:25 pm

  7. Love the bokeh on the black-eyed Susan. I’m staying home with my A/C while everyone goes crazy for this weekend.

    July 2, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    • Thank you! I’d be doing the same thing, except the high temps the next few days are forecast to be in the mid 70’s, almost perfect.

      July 2, 2014 at 3:03 pm

  8. amazing fotos!

    July 2, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    • Thank you Cindy!

      July 2, 2014 at 3:07 pm

  9. Small living beings becoming stars here !
    Cheers,
    Michel 🙂

    July 2, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    • Thanks! The small world is quite large in its own way. 😉

      July 3, 2014 at 3:16 am

  10. You are certainly getting a wide range of subjects into your posts these days which is most impressive. Yellow flowers seem to be the hardest to get the camera to pick out in detail though I will be interested to see what happens when you come across a really brilliant red one. You made an excellent job of the yellow one.

    July 2, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    • Thanks Tom! You are too kind, since you have great landscapes, birds, flowers, and insects in most of your posts. I feel like a slacker. I’ll have a look around to see if I can find a red flower.

      July 3, 2014 at 3:18 am

  11. I think the white flower with stripes after the shot of the bee is common mallow (Malva neglecta) but I don’t recognize many of these. The common yellow roadside flowers look like yellow sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis) and the tiny white ones could be grape flowers. I like the shots of the unidentified marsh flowers but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of them. You’ve got a bunch of great shots here. It’s always better to have too many than not enough!

    July 2, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    • Thanks Allen! The only reason that I’m doing better on the IDs is that I’ve been looking through both of our blogs from last year to jog my memory. 😉

      July 3, 2014 at 3:20 am

  12. I enjoyed the photos in this post very much, especially all the insects. Could the tiny white flowers be a type of Galium. It is a large group of plants either with tiny white or yellow flowers and many of them scramble up other plants and cling on with tendrils. Four petals and the leaves are often in fours too.

    July 3, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    • Thanks Clare! I know nothing of flowers other than that they’re beautiful, and I love them, so you could be right.

      July 4, 2014 at 1:21 am

  13. Ducklings!!! Awwwwww! Sorry, couldn’t resist! 🙂

    July 4, 2014 at 10:18 am

    • Thanks Lori, I couldn’t resist taking the photo in the first place. 😉

      July 4, 2014 at 6:34 pm